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WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN


August 13, 2019


Frances Tiafoe


Cincinnati, Ohio

F. TIAFOE/G. Monfils

7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Down 3-6 in the first-set breaker. You were able to get through that. Only dropped one point after that. How were you able to get that done?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, I mean, I just kept coming. I kept coming. Came out a little slow. Dumped the easy ball there in my first opening game. He kind of ran with it, was serving well.

Had some chances to break back. Didn't. He gave me a little freebie at 5-3 there.

It was tough. I played two good points, and 6-5 he overcooked a forehand after a long rally. Just tried to stay in every point. It worked out today.

Q. You seemed to struggle a little bit with your short game at the beginning of the first set, missing some balls at the net. But then you persisted and that was probably, looked to me, one of the reasons why you were able to pull that first set back in your favor.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah.

Q. Was that something you have been working on, giving you the confidence to keep doing it when it's not going so well?
FRANCES TIAFOE: It was tough. Just not easy, especially when you get passed a couple times when you came forward off some good approaches. Yeah, I dumped some volleys early. It was a game plan. You've got to stick to it. You can live and die by it. At least you know it's the right play.

Yeah, it was tough. I mean, just trying to be a little too fancy there in the beginning rather than just kind of being boring and taking care of the volley. Yeah, I was able to do that throughout the match better and better.

Q. How did you feel like your movement was today? Looked like you were moving pretty well.
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah, exactly. I felt good today. I mean, the objective for me -- obviously I'm happy I won, but it was just to play a match and feel no pain.

Obviously I couldn't play last week because of injuries. I was happy to be able just to come out here and play a match, which is obviously very physical when you're playing Gaƫl.

Q. There was a long delay with Gaƫl talking to the chair. I think it was a time violation against him when he was receiving. Do you know what that was all about?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I mean, he was just trying to pull a move. I mean, let's get real here (smiling). He was trying to slow me down, obviously. He's got a break. I'm up a set and break, 4-2 serving, 30-15 have a chance to go for 5-2. He was trying to slow me down. I get it, you know. Usually that stuff works but it didn't work today (smiling).

Q. You are at a point in your career now where people are, especially little kids, are really looking up to you now. I want to know, like, are you really embracing that? I love it that we have a person of color for the little kids to look up to as a male. So are you embracing that role? I know you do a lot at home.
FRANCES TIAFOE: 100%, 100%. That's what it's all about for me. You know, I love young guys coming up to me, autographs and things like that, embracing me, screaming "Big Foe" all the time, I think it's pretty cool.

I started playing tennis originally for my family, but I'm in a better place now. It's all about those young guys, especially love for more black people to play tennis. That's the goal. Obviously Serena and Venus did a great job of that. James in his time. Obviously you need more and more faces, right?

You know, that's why I'm playing, and hopefully I can, you know, give opportunities for those guys at one point in my career.

Q. I like the jersey you have on. Are you trying to recruit Brad Beal to stay in Washington?
FRANCES TIAFOE: I didn't like that he didn't sign the extension. So, yeah. But yeah, you know, I love all D.C. sports. I love Brad.

Yeah, I mean, he can hoop, and hopefully he can stay on. Trade talks that he may go to Miami and all these kind of things. We'll see what ends up happening.

Q. Big NBA fan?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Massive NBA fan. I was arguing for about an hour before the match about, you know, some cat in the locker room, one of my good buddies, telling me that Ben Simmons is going to be like seventh, eighth best player in the league next year, and I just lost it (smiling). I couldn't let him have it.

Q. Do you ever talk NBA with Kyrgios?
FRANCES TIAFOE: Yeah. That's all we talk about. I don't think we have talked tennis in the last three years. That's pretty much all we talk about.

He's a big Boston Celtics fan. Couple years ago when the Celts got us in seven, I mean, he didn't shut up for, like -- man, our relationship was almost done (smiling). Never been that pissed ever.

Yeah, obviously he's a huge fan. So am I. Hopefully we can keep that up. I think it's good for tennis. I think it's good for us. So many weeks on tour. Tennis, tennis, tennis. Kind of gets your mind out of something. Something that we're actually truly passionate about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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